summer strawberry bruschetta

I wish I could brag about the warm sunny summer day that it is in Vancouver but I can't because sadly today is grey and drizzly. But that's not to say that this past weekend didn't feel like summer, after all Saturday marked the kick off for the warm days ahead. To celebrate the season's arrival I thought it'd be appropriate to use local BC strawberries that seem to be at the front of produce stores these days. Disapointingly, these weren't a sweet bunch but that made them the perfect candidate to let a balsamic marinade sweeten them up. I made these for a Saturday girl's night and they indeed went over well. The sweet and tangy balsamic strawberries go perfectly with the goat cheese and the basil adds a fresh herb taste. To make these gluten free I bought a quinoa baguette from my favourite bakery in Vancouver, Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery.

Summer Strawberry Bruschetta (adapted from she knows.com)

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
16 slices (1/2 inch thick) of baguette (use gluten free if necessary)
1 pint (2 cups) strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil plus sprigs for garnish
pinch fine grain sea salt
1 cup goat cheese (or as much as you like - I like a generous smear per slice)

1. In a small saucepan bring balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil for 10-15 minutes, until syrupy and reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool on counter or in fridge if in a rush (which I was).
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the strawberries, balsamic reduction, chopped basil and salt. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. 
3. Place baguette slices on a sheet (or two if not large enough) and place under broiler for two minutes per side (gluten free bread may take a couple minutes longer)
4. When slightly cooled, spread goat cheese onto each slice and spoon strawberry mixture on top. Garnish with basil sprigs or extra chopped basil. Serve immediately. 

Happy first week of summer!

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